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Blair is guilty but that is not the biggest sin.

Byline: Joan Burnie

COME on, people, get real. Tony Blair's donation to the Royal British Legion has nothing whatsoever to do with guilt.

Tone may do God or possibly that bit of God which suits him best and leaves out inconvenient parts about rich men, eyes of needles and Judas, but he sure as hell doesn't do guilt.

The word isn't in our famously articulate former PM's vocabulary.

Even if it was, we know from his recent evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry that Blair did it his way and has no regrets, not even a few, about the Iraq war, far less feeling, Heavens to Betsy that he and his pal, George, might have got it wrong.

Nor can his large contribution to the Legion be termed blood money, not when, like Pontius Pilate, he has washed all that unfortunate red stuff away.

On Planet Blair, both the man's conscience and his hands are of the purest white. So what's the point of bothering ourselves dissecting the man's motives?

Just let's be glad that at least some of the pounds 60million fortune he's managed to hoover up since he quit No.10 is going where it is needed.

As far as I'm concerned, the real scandal, and what should shame us all, and not just Tony, isn't the donation itself but that such a donation is necessary.

It is disgusting that those men and women who have been terribly injured while serving Queen and country must rely on cold charity and a begging bowl to receive any of the treatment they need for their rehabilitation.

That is what enrages me and makes me weep rather than standing around chucking bucket loads of verbal manure over Blair. We can and have argued until the coffins come home about whether we should or shouldn't have gone into Iraq and latterly Afghanistan.

But the fact is we did. As a result, we now have an increasing number of young men - the MOD doesn't release adequate figures of the wounded - who will possibly require support for the rest of their lives.

That support should come from the state, from the taxpayer, from us, unquestioningly and in full.

That it demonstrably doesn't and that an organisation such as the Legion has to fill in the gaps and provide not just a few extras but essential facilities including its admirable Battle Back Challenge Centre is truly shocking.

That is what we should be complaining about, rather than obsessing with trivia such as why Blair is doing it. It doesn't matter. It won't bring the dead back from their graves or magically regrow disfigured bodies and minds.

Frankly my dears, I don't give a damn about Blair's reasons, even if the money is probably less than he's spent on buying his sons their luxury pads.

At least, this way, other people's sons will benefit and get some of the help they so desperately need.

But I stick by my point - they should get it by right and from those they serve, rather than having to rely on the largesse of multi-millionaires such as Blair and the fickle generosity of the rest of us.

That is something which should prick the conscience of us all.

Meanwhile, I sincerely hope Blair's book, A Journey, sells in its millions, even the ridiculous, cloth bound, special signed edition - allegedly tricked-up to look like a Bible - which is priced at one hundred and fifty quid a go.

I hope it rakes the shekels in by the bucketload for the Legion, but if there are some who can't stomach buying it, then fine - send the dosh directly to the charity.

The RBL were right to accept Blair's gift.

To have refused it would not only have been silly but made them almost as pious as St Tone in his pulpit and at his most unctuous.

PS: Can't say I'm impressed that Gordon Brown is now punting himself

as a speaker on the circuit at pounds 65,000 a pop. Even Tony waited until he left Parliament before he started filling his boots.


HAVEN'T GOT A PRAYER: Versions of Tony's book look like the Bible but he can't convince Joan he's a saint
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 20, 2010
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